Welcome to post 10 bazillion of Gelato Nation! I feel like all I do lately is write about Gelaterias. I guess that is because I seem to have a sixth sense for them. Any town we go to, I can always find the tell-tale signs. I look for people in the streets walking with those quintessential shovel-spoons, I scan store windows for neon or painted signs with letter combinations beginning in G and ending in O with a T in the middle. I sniff out the smell of cones baking in the oven. I search the faces of people for that Gelato-Blissed-Out look.
And then I spring and devour in delight! This has become a joke at home now, everyone thrilled with my new my super-gelato-powers to scope out the good stuff!
Well, St. Augustine is not without its Gelato and we found it surprisingly enough in a Spanish named Café – Café de Hidalgo. We passed the wooden sign dangling from the rooftop several times before I saw IT squeezed in with Sorbet, Specialty Coffees, French & Italian Pastries, Salads and Panini. I should have seen it sooner, but the café name threw me. It was being tricky. Trying to fool me. But as soon as I caught a glimpse of that letter combination we dashed through the door, and then saw them, those beautiful glistening cases of Gelato. Roberto was quick to point out that it was in fact *real* Gelato, as it was an Italian brand, Fabri.
So of course, the first order of business was to see what flavors we had to choose from. It was then that we saw the huge line from the Gelato cases to the back of the café. We had to take a number this place was so popular. So we got our number, paid and waited for our turn. I had already scoped out the flavors I wanted to try: Crème Caramel, Zabaglione, and Walnut-Fig. The Crème Caramel was rich, sweet and, well caramel-y. I was looking for something a bit more Dulce de Leche….The Zabaglione tasted like egg nog – which is funny because I had never made that comparison before – and they are so similar! But since it was not winter, I wasn’t feeling it. So I knew I was going for a Nocciola/Walnut-Fig combo (as a small is two flavors – which I love!).
The Nocciola was good, decent, up to par Nocciola, but not in the same league as what I had at Gelato Dream in Ft. Lauderdale days earlier. The Walnut-Fig was nutty and fruity. There was a lightness to it which countered the deepness of the Nocciola nicely.
Roberto had Pistacchio and Limoncello. The Pistacchio again was good, but not mind-blowing like Gelato Dream’s. Also there were barely any pistacchios – only a few for the top as a garnish. The Limoncello was very refreshing and tart. Mom went for a Chocolate and Limoncello combo – which is her favorite flavor combination. The chocolate was rich, flavorful and earthy which complimented the brightness of the Limoncello.
So if you are ever in St. Augustine and looking for an Italian treat, whether it be Gelato, Sorbetto, Cannoli, or an espresso drink, stop at Café de Hidalgo and I am sure you will find something to enjoy!
Café de Hidalgo
35 Hypolita Street
St. Augustine, FL